My Car Check – a consumer vehicle data provider – has helped to reunite a vehicle with its rightful owner after spotting a post on Facebook page They Stole My Wheels. The 2008 Vauxhall Vectra was pictured on a Yorkshire side street with several parking tickets – a giveaway sign that it had been stolen and abandoned.
Justin Powell, manager of My Car Check’s Glasgow call centre, said: “We monitor these stolen vehicle Facebook pages on a daily basis. They help us to build an accurate picture of which vehicles are being targeted, which helps us to protect used car buyers. In this case it turned out that the Vectra was registered to a finance company. They were very pleased when we told them where it was. The policyholder apparently owed them a lot of money so they were glad of the opportunity to snatch back their asset.
“With a billion people now on social media, and users generally having strong networks in their local area, Facebook in particular is becoming a valuable tool in tackling vehicle crime. An “I’ve just had my car stolen – have you seen it?” message could easily be seen by a hundred people in the vicinity within minutes of the theft taking place. The question is: what do you do if you see the vehicle in question? Sensible advice from a colleague in law enforcement is to avoid challenging suspected car thieves or overtly filming them. Report any relevant information to the police immediately, but don’t put yourself at risk.
“A further word of warning: criminals also use Facebook. By posting pictures of your pride and joy parked outside your house with location services enabled, you could make yourself a target for burglary. It might also invalidate your insurance.”
CDL Vehicle Information Services, which owns My Car Check, performs over a million look-ups a day for companies. It uses up-to-the-minute data from the police, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and all major finance houses.